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Travel to France

Flying to France

The national airline is Air France (www.airfrance.com). Flights to France are cheapest during off-peak periods—namely spring and autumn—while summer and ski season tend to see higher prices.

Major airports are: Bordeaux Airport, Lille Airport, Marseille Provence Airport, Nice Côte d'Azure Airport, Paris Charle de Gaulle Airport, Strasbourg International Airport, Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, Bastia Poretta Airport, Nantes Atlantique Airport and Grenoble-Isere Airport.

Flight times

The construction of the new Aéroport du Grand Ouest, near Nantes in Brittany, has generated plenty of controversy in France. When the facility does open, it is set to handle an annual capacity of 4 million passengers.

Airport Guides

Bordeaux Airport

Code

BOD

Location

Bordeaux Airport is situated 12km (7.5 miles) west of central Bordeaux, in the Aquitaine region of southwest France.

Tel

+33 5 5634 5050

Address

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Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport

Code

LYS

Location

Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport is situated 20km (13 miles) east of Lyon's city centre.

Tel

04 2600 7007.

Address

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Marseille Provence Airport

Code

MRS

Location

Marseille Provence Airport is situated 25km (16 miles) northwest of Marseille.

Tel

+33 820 811 414

Address

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Paris-Orly Airport

Code

ORY

Location

Paris-Orly Airport is located 14km (9 miles) south of Paris.

Tel

+33 170 363 950

Address

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Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

Code

CDG

Location

Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport is located 23km (14 miles) northeast of Paris.

Tel

+33 1 7036 3950

Address

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Lille Airport

Code

LIL

Location

Lille Airport is situated 7km (4 miles) southeast of Lille.

Tel

+33 3 2049 6747

Address

Find out more >

Flight times

From London - 1 hour 15 minutes; New York - 7 hours.

Air passes

Various air passes are available which incorporate France, such as the OneWorld Visit Europe Pass (www.oneworld.com) and the SkyTeam Go Europe Pass (www.skyteam.com).

Departure tax

None.

Travelling to France by Rail

International trains run from the channel ports and Paris to destinations throughout Europe. For up-to-date routes and timetables, contact SNCF (tel: 3635, in France only or +33 892 353 535; www.sncf.com).

Eurostar (tel: +44 03432 186 186, in the UK; www.eurostar.com) is a service provided by the railways of Belgium, France, and the UK that operates direct high-speed trains from London (St Pancras International) to Paris (Gare du Nord) and to Brussels (Midi/Zuid). It takes approximately 2 hours 15 minutes from London to Paris and approximately 2 hours and 10 from London to Brussels. Eurostar also runs a direct service from London to Lyon, Avignon and Marseille, as well as a ski train to the Alps in winter.

Rail passes

InterRail: offers unlimited first- or second-class travel in up to 30 European countries for European residents of over six months with two pass options. The Global Pass allows continuous travel across all countries for 15 days, 22 days, or one month, as well as noncontinuous travel for 7, 10, or 15 days in a month, or five days in a 15 day period . The One-Country Pass offers travel for three, four, six or eight days in one month to a certain group of countries that are labeled at the same price level. Supplements are required for some high-speed services, seat reservations, and couchettes.

The pass covers two journeys free-of-charge in the passenger's country of residence: one outbound and one inbound journey. Price reductions are available for travellers under 27 and children under 12 get a free first day of travel when with an adult using an Adult Pass. Eurostar and some ferry routes offer travel discounts. For instance, check out Voyages-sncf.com (tel: +44 844 848 5848, in the UK; www.voyages-sncf.com).

Eurail Pass: offers unlimited train travel in up to 28 European countries for non-European citizens or residents. Tickets are valid for continuous travel for 15 days, 22 days, one month, two months or three months. Tickets for noncontinuous travel can be purchased for five or seven days in one month or 10 or 15 days in two months. The Global Pass allows travel across all participating countries. The Select Pass is valid in two, three, or four bordering countries. The One Country Pass offers travel in one of 27 countries.

Adult passes are valid for first-class travel, while youth passes (under 26) are available for both first and second-class travel. Children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult using an Adult Pass. The passes cannot be sold to EU citizens or residents. Available from Eurail (www.eurail.com).

Driving to France

Eurotunnel runs shuttle trains for cars, bicycles, motorcycles, coaches, minibuses, caravans and campervans between Folkestone in Kent, UK, and Calais. The journey takes about 35 minutes from platform to platform. Fares are charged according to length of stay and time of year and whether or not you have a reservation. For further information, contact Eurotunnel (tel: +44 8443 353 535, in the UK; www.eurotunnel.com).

Getting to France by boat

France is easily reached from the Atlantic Ocean, the English Channel, and the Mediterranean, meaning it has a large number of seaports. Cross-channel ferry services from the UK frequent such ports as Calais (www.calais-port.com) and Le Havre (www.havre-port.net). Marseille (www.marseille-port.fr) is the largest, busiest port in the south.

Ferry operators

P&O Ferries (tel: +44 0330 159 7000, in the UK; www.poferries.com) runs ferries between Dover and Calais.

Brittany Ferries (tel: +44 871 244 0744, in the UK; www.brittany-ferries.co.uk) operates ferries from Portsmouth to Caen, Le Havre, Cherbourg and St Malo; Poole to Cherbourg; and Plymouth to Roscoff.

In the Mediterranean, Corsica Ferries/Sardinia Ferries (tel: +33 4 9532 9595; www.corsicaferries.com) connects Sardinia and Corsica with Nice and Toulon.

River Routes

On France’s eastern border, you can reach Strasbourg along the River Rhine from Germany. Pleasure cruises visit regularly.

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